|Publication number||US7649506 B2|
|Application number||US 11/220,624|
|Publication date||Jan 19, 2010|
|Filing date||Sep 8, 2005|
|Priority date||Nov 19, 1999|
|Also published as||US6970145, US20060001595|
|Publication number||11220624, 220624, US 7649506 B2, US 7649506B2, US-B2-7649506, US7649506 B2, US7649506B2|
|Original Assignee||Ricoh Company, Ltd.|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (33), Non-Patent Citations (1), Classifications (9), Legal Events (1)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
1. Field of the Invention
The present invention generally relates to an image-display system. The present invention particularly relates to an image-display system that includes image-display devices for displaying a plurality of images simultaneously, and to a user interface provided in an image-display system for allocating a document that includes a plurality of pages to image-display devices included in the image-display system.
2. Description of the Related Art
An image is enlarged by being displayed on a plurality of projectors in a presentation. In addition, a part of the image displayed on each of the projectors can have a high resolution. Further, by setting a plurality of image-display devices on a table, and then displaying images on the image-display devices, more information can be displayed at once on the image-display devices than on a single image-display device. Operation systems such as Windows 98 produced by Microsoft and Mac OS produced by Apple provide a function to use a plurality of image-display devices for displaying images. However, a plurality of video cards 12 must be added to a computer 10, the video cards 12 corresponding to respective image-display devices 14 that are connected to the computer 10 as shown in
Additionally, there is software named VNC that displays an image displayed on a monitor of a first computer onto a monitor of a second computer through a network. This VNC is freeware created by Tristan Richard, Quentin Stafford-Fraser, Kenneth R. Wood, and Andy Hooper (Tristan Richard, Quentin Stafford-Fraser, Kenneth R. Wood, Andy Hooper, “Virtual Network Computing”, IEEE Internet Computing, Volume 2, Number 1, January/February 1998). The VNC enables fast update of an image displayed on the monitor of the second computer by transmitting raster data of an updated area on the monitor of the first computer and a command to replace a color of an evenly colored area on the monitor of the first computer, to the second computer.
As software installed in an image-display system that includes the computer 10 (a control device) and a plurality of the image-display devices 14, there exists a web browser such as the Internet Explorer produced by Microsoft. The image-display system including the web browser is called a hypertext-document display system, and displays a hypertext document wherein texts, still pictures, movies and sounds included in the document are linked to other related data called objects. The web browser obtains data in an HTML (HyperText Markup Language) format through a network by use of a HTTP protocol, or reads the data from a local disk. Subsequently, the web browser analyzes the obtained data, generates image data indicating contents of the obtained data, and displays the image data on a monitor. The web browser obtains new data in the HTML format from a linked address when a user clicks a mouse in a specific area that has been initially linked to other documents on a monitor, and then displays the new data as an image on the monitor. Additionally, an area called a tool bar provided on an HTML-data display screen displays two buttons, “forward” and “back”. The web browser can display the previous pages that have been displayed on the monitor by a user pressing the buttons “forward” and “back”.
Another image-display system is a system that uses a plurality of image-display devices. One of methods to use the image-display devices is to divide a large image into images, and then to display the images on the image-display devices. Another method, disclosed in Japanese Laid-Open Patent Application No. 9-81475, is to divide a document logically and then to display logically divided pages of the document. In this method, an LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) board is used as an image-display device. However, a CRT display and a projector may be substituted for the LCD board. Generally, a document includes a set of pages. Assuming each of the pages included in the document is displayed on one of the image-display devices, a user can switch from one page to another page intuitively by observing the pages displayed on the image-display devices simultaneously, or by changing a location of each of the image-display devices physically. A document created by use of a word processor is considered a series of pages in one dimension. The invention disclosed in Japanese Laid-Open Patent Application No. 9-81475 displays a plurality of the pages included in the document simultaneously on the image-display devices by transmitting files that include a plurality of the pages to a group of the image-display devices.
However, in hypertexts such as the HTML, each page includes links connected to other pages in addition to a link to the previous page and a link to the next page. Thus, there exist a plurality of pages connected to each page. In a case in which hypertexts that include complicated links to a plurality of pages are to be displayed on a plurality of image-display devices, a control device included in an image-display system cannot determine which page a user wants to display on each of the plurality of image-display devices only by transmitting the plurality of pages to the plurality of image-display devices. In such an environment, it is necessary to provide a user interface that relates a specific page in a document to a specific image-display device in an image-display system.
Accordingly, it is a general object of the present invention to provide a method and an apparatus for controlling image-display devices collectively through a user interface to display an image on each of the image-display devices in an image-display system that can be created easily by use of a general personal computer. Another object of the present invention is to provide an image-display system including a control device and image-display devices, wherein the image-display system quickly updates images displayed on the image-display devices even if an interface that connects the control device and the image-display devices is slow.
The above-described objects of the present invention are achieved by an image-transmitting device connected to image-display devices through a bus cable, the image-transmitting device including a memory unit storing a set of screen data whose correspondence to each of the image-display devices and a displaying order of the screen data to be displayed on the image-display devices are predetermined; a transmission-data-generating unit selecting specific screen data from among the set of the screen data by following the correspondence and the displaying order, and generating transmission data that each of the image-display devices is to display based on the selected specific screen data; a bus interface connected to the image-display devices through the bus cable; and a transmission unit transmitting the transmission data from the bus interface through the bus cable to each of the image-display devices.
The image-transmitting device transmits as screen data, a combination of data specifying an updating area of the screen data displayed on an image-display device and data used for updating part of the screen data displayed in the updating area, to the image-display device through the bus cable so that the image-display devices can simultaneously update the screen data displayed thereon.
Other objects, features and advantages of the present invention will become more apparent from the following detailed description when read in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.
A description will now be given of preferred embodiments of the present invention, with reference to the accompanying drawings.
The memory unit 116 provided in the control device 100 stores a group of screen data. An image-display device 102 corresponding to each of the above-described screen data and an order of the above-described screen data to be displayed are predetermined. The transmission-data-generating unit 118 selects screen data from the group of the screen data stored in the memory unit 116 by following the predetermined order of the screen data to be displayed and correspondence of the image-display devices 102 to the screen data, and generates transmission data that is used for displaying an image on a monitor provided in each of the image-display devices 102 based on the selected screen data. The transmission unit 120 transmits the transmission data generated by the transmission-data-generating unit 118 to an image-display device 102 corresponding to the transmission data. The setting unit 122 sets correspondence of the image-display devices 102 to the screen data, and an order of the screen data to be displayed. Additionally, the instruction-input unit 124 is provided in the control unit 100 for a user to input instructions to the setting unit 122 and the transmission-data-generating unit 118 by use of a GUI (Graphical User Interface).
The above-described control device 100 may be adapted, without adding special hardware, to a computer such as a general personal computer that includes at least one USB terminal, and an information-processing device controlled by a program, for instance. Such a computer used as the control device 100 is shown in
Additionally, the program 230 stored in the main memory 202 is controlled by the CPU 200 to execute each function of the control device 100 in the computer shown in
The main memory 202 and any recording area of the hard-disk device 218 are used as the memory unit 116 of the control device 100 in the computer shown in
A description will now be given of an operation of the image-display system with reference to
The setting unit 122 decides a displaying order of the screen data and correspondence of the screen data to the image-display devices 102 by following instructions inputted to the instruction-input unit 124 by a user through a GUI. To be concrete, a two-dimensional arrangement 240 of the screen data is created in the memory unit 116 of the control device 100 in the image-display system as shown in
Settings of a displaying order of the screen data and correspondence of the screen data to the image-display devices 102 are executed in the computer shown in
In a case that there is additional screen data to be displayed by the image-display devices 102, a file name of the additional screen data may be dragged to a setting frame after scrolling the scroll bar 310 located at the right edge of the window 300 so that the following setting frames are shown in the window 300. The above-described settings of a displaying order of the screen data and correspondence of the screen data to the image-display devices 102 by use of the GUI can be understood and executed more easily than the settings without using the GUI. Thus, mistakes during the settings using the GUI occur less frequently than during the settings without using the GUI. Subsequently, the two-dimensional arrangement 240 that has been created as described above is stored as a file in the hard-disk device 218.
A description will now be given of an operation to display images of the screen data jointly on monitors of the image-display devices 102-1, 102-2 and 102-3.
When the screen data is stored in the main memory 202, a window 400 shown in
At a step S2, the transmission-data-generating unit 118 of the control device 100 selects the screen data A-1, A-2 and A-3, which reduced images are displayed respectively in the display frames 401, 402 and 403. In other words, the transmission-data-generating unit 118 selects the screen data that includes a file number and is set to the first row of the two-dimensional arrangement 240, that is, the first three-screen data in the displaying order, each of the first three-screen data having its corresponding image-display device 102 being set. The selected screen data is then displayed on monitors of the image-display devices 102. A detailed description of a method to display the screen data on the monitors of the image-display devices 102 will be given later.
When a user inputs an instruction by use of the instruction-input unit 124 to switch the screen data A-1, A-2 and A-3 currently being displayed on the monitors of the image-display devices 1021, 102-2 and 102-3 to another row of screen data to be displayed next in the displaying order on a monitor of each of the image-display devices 102, the transmission-data-generating unit 118 selects the elements in the second row of the two-dimensional arrangement 240, that is, the screen data B-1, B-2 and B-3, at the step S2. Subsequently, each of the screen data B-1, B-2 and B-3 is displayed on a monitor of the corresponding image-display devices 102. In such a case, the screen data displayed on the monitors of the image-display devices 102-1, 102-2 and 102-3 is switched simultaneously. The above-described operation to switch the screen data can be executed in the computer shown in
Each screen data corresponding to the image-display devices 102-1, 102-2 and 102-3 is selected following the displaying order, and the selected screen data is displayed on the monitor of the corresponding image-display device 102 simultaneously. In addition to the above-described method to switch displayed images on the monitors of the three image-display devices 102-1, 102-2 and 102-3, there is a method to display desired screen data on a monitor of any image-display device 102. The method takes steps of selecting desired screen data without considering correspondence of screen data to the image-display devices and a displaying order of the screen data by inputting an instruction to the transmission-data-generating unit 118 from the instruction-input unit 124, and displaying the desired screen data on the monitor of a desired image-display device 102. In the computer shown in
At a step S3 shown in
Transmission data created by the transmission-data-generating unit 118 is area-updating data that takes a structure as shown in
In the above-described image-display system, the control device 100 and the image-display devices 102 are connected by the USB interface 110, that is, a bus interface. Transmission data transmitted from the transmission unit 120 of the control device 100 to all of the image-display devices 102-1, 102-2 and 102-3 flows through a single bus cable. As the number of the image-display devices 102 increases, quantity of data transmitted through the bus increases, and thus the time taken for updating screen data displayed on a monitor of an image-display device 102 becomes longer. For example, it takes about 1.6 seconds to transmit raster data which size is equal to a screen size 1024×768 pixels multiplied by a pixel size of 24 bits through the USB bus, which maximum data transmission speed is 12 Mbps. If the number of the image-display devices 102 is three, transmission time to transmit data to three of the image-display devices 102 is about 4.8 seconds, and thus quick update of the screen data cannot be executed. However, the image-display system according to the present invention transmits screen data expressed by using both a raster-data format (raster-data type) and a solid-data format (solid-data type) to the image-display devices 102 instead of transmitting the screen data expressed by using only the raster-data format. A size of the screen data that is expressed by using both the raster-data format and the solid-data format is smaller than a size of the screen data expressed by using only the raster-data format. Accordingly, a quantity of data transmitted by the control device 100 through the USB bus to the image-display devices 102 is reduced in the image-display system according to the present invention. Thus, screen data displayed on each of the image-display devices 102 can be updated quickly and almost simultaneously even if the number of the image-display devices 102 increases.
A method to reduce the quantity of screen data expressed by using only the raster-data format (raster data) by compressing the raster data before transmitting the screen data is effective for shortening the transmission time in addition to the above-described method. However, the size of the screen data expressed by using only the raster-data format is hardly compressed to the size of the same screen data expressed by using both the raster-data format and the solid-data format. In such a case, each image-display device 102 needs to include a method to expand compressed screen data so that a structure of each image-display device 102 becomes complicated. In addition, the processing time required to compress and to expand the screen data causes a delay in updating the screen data displayed on a monitor of an image-display device 102.
A description will now be given of an image-display system according to a fifth embodiment of the present invention.
The upper area 802 includes a frame 804 indicating “previous screen”, a frame 805 indicating “next screen” and a frame 806 indicating “current screen”. Image-display devices displaying the next screen and the previous screen are determined by dragging the icons 807, 808 and 809 to the frames 804, 805 and 806. For instance, the image-display devices 1 and 2 are set for displaying respectively the next screen and the previous screen by dropping the icon 807 to the frame 805 “next screen” and the icon 808 to the frame 804 “previous screens”. An image-display device set for displaying the previous screen displays a page displayed when a “back” button of a web browser is pressed down. Similarly, a page next to a current page is displayed on an image-display device set for displaying the next screen. Both the present invention and the invention disclosed in Japanese Laid-Open Patent Application No. 9-81475 include a technology to set the relation between the image-display devices in advance. Additionally, the invention disclosed in Japanese Laid-Open Patent Application No. 9-81475 discloses a technology to transmit a file including a sequence of pages to the image-display devices. However, in the present invention, the previous screen and the next screen can be set to the image-display devices dynamically by a user's control.
A description will now be given of an operation of an image-display device with reference to
In the image-display system 700 according to the present invention, not only the current page but also the previous and next pages linked to the current page in a link series are displayed by use of the image-display devices. If the current page is at an end of the link series so that the previous or next page does not exist, an image-display device corresponding to the previous or next page displays no image data. A page containing HTML data may not fit on a monitor of an image-display device. Therefore, when displaying image data by use of an image-display device such as the LCD panel that is a hand-held device and other image-display devices that cannot display one page of the HTML data on its monitor, the entire page of HTML data can be displayed on the monitor by providing a scroll button, and then by scrolling the page in the image-display device.
A description will now be given of a method to display desired pages simultaneously according to a thirteenth embodiment of the present invention. A method of collecting desired pages among a plurality of pages that are connected to each other complicatedly and reading the desired pages simultaneously by use of LCD panels takes the following steps. The first page A is initially located by following hyperlinks, and is displayed on a console screen provided on the console 703 of the computer 701. Subsequently, the first page A is displayed on the image-display device 1. The second page B is located by following the hyperlinks again, and is displayed on the console screen. When the second page B is displayed on the console screen, the first page A is still being displayed on the image-display device 1. Thus, a user can read both the first page A and the second page B simultaneously. Similarly, the user can read as many pages as the number of the image-display devices by taking the above-described steps.
As described above, the present invention provides an image-display system that can collectively control each of a plurality of image-display devices to display images following predetermined settings. Furthermore, the cost of producing the image-display system is low, since a general personal computer including a bus interface such as a USB interface can be used as a control device provided in the image-display system without adding any special hardware. Additionally, a user can set correspondence of screen data to an image-display device and a displaying order of the screen data on the image-display device at any time. Even if the predetermined settings are stored in the control device, the image-display system can display any screen data selected by a user on any image-display whenever the user inputs an instruction to do so. An operation by the user to select desired screen data to be displayed on a desired image-display device can be executed easily and firmly by use of a GUI. Even if a data-transmitting speed of an interface connecting the control device and image-display devices is slow, the image-display system can update the screen data displayed on the image-display devices quickly since the control device transmits the screen data as area-updating data to the image-display devices for updating the screen data displayed on the image-display devices. Additionally, each of the control device and the image-display devices does not need to include a function to compress and expand the screen data, and thus structures of the control device and the image-display devices can be simplified. Moreover, the image-display system can avoid delay in update of the screen data displayed on the image-display devices according to time taken to compress and expand the screen data. Additionally, the image-display system can collectively control each of the image-display devices to display the screen data in a predetermined displaying order.
By use of the user interface according to the present invention, a user can relate a specific page or link in a document written in a hypertext having complicated relations of connecting to other hypertexts to a specific image-display device so that the specific page or link can be displayed on the specific image-display device. Additionally, the user interface can easily direct the image-display devices to display screen data desired by the user. Additionally, in a case that the present invention is adapted to a presentation and the like, the current page and the previous page can be always displayed on screens, and thus relation between parts in a presentation becomes clear.
The above description is provided in order to enable any person skilled in the art to make and use the invention and sets forth the best mode contemplated by the inventors of carrying out the invention.
The present invention is not limited to the specially disclosed embodiments and variations, and modifications may be made without departing from the scope and spirit of the invention.
The present application is based on Japanese Priority Application No. 11-330522, filed on Nov. 19, 1999, and Japanese Priority Application No. 2000-237462, filed on Aug. 4, 2000, the entire contents of which are hereby incorporated by reference.
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|JPH0981475A||Title not available|
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|1||Tristan Richardson, et al. "Virtual Network Computing", IEEE Internet Computing, vol. 2, No. 1, 1998, pp. 33-38.|
|U.S. Classification||345/1.1, 345/3.1|
|International Classification||G06F3/00, G09G5/00|
|Cooperative Classification||G06F3/1431, G09G5/14, G09G2300/026|
|European Classification||G09G5/14, G06F3/14C2|